Life Coaching Trends for 2023: Emerging Opportunities for Coaches

In this podcast episode, Lumia co-founders John and Noelle discuss emerging industry trends and how they relate to your coaching practice.

The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!

2023 Coaching Industry Outlook

To produce our annual snapshot of industry trends, Lumia CEO Noelle Cordeaux takes a deep dive into a diverse array of wellness sector economic reports, trend analyses and commentary. Primary sources for the 2023 roundup include:

In reviewing these and other sources of information, what's coming through loud and clear is that many of the fastest growing trends are in effect a boomerang from the pandemic experience. The following trends reflect the various ways in which people are pursuing what’s most meaningful and important to them in life. 

Areas of particular note for coaches include:

  1. A return to in-person fitness experiences
  2. Growing interest in sexual wellness
  3. An increasing focus on mental fitness
  4. The boom in wellness travel and psychic services
  5. The rise of community based wellness centers

In this podcast episode, Lumia Coaching co-founders John and Noelle distill all the research down, honing in on where they’re seeing the biggest industry shifts and emerging opportunities for coaches to make an impact. Listen in as they discuss the five trends above, and how you can apply this industry information to your own coaching practice. 

2023 Trends to Watch 

Trend #1: A return to in-person fitness experiences 

Industry statistics point to in-person fitness making a comeback. People aren’t ditching their home set-ups completely, but they’re heading back to join community based fitness for those things they can’t get at home. Experts think 2023 will be a breakthrough year. 

“The pandemic impacted most industries, and few were as hard hit as the wellness industry—but the pandemic did not kill in-person fitness. In fact, it highlighted just how much we missed those in-person experiences.” - ” Fritz Lanman, CEO of Mindbody 

From the perspective of coaching, we know it’s most impactful when we tackle goals in partnership with others. As people return to in-person fitness experiences, there are many ways that professional coaches can jump into that mix!

Fitness coaching opportunities include:

  • Mindset work
  • Leveraging the topic of physical fitness as a doorway into other conversations related to health and wellbeing
  • Physical trainers adding coaching skills to their toolkit to better support their clients in goal attainment

#2 Trend: The growth of sexual wellness

People of all ages, identities, and walks of life are clamoring for new definitions of sex and intimacy. Taboos are breaking down as people are no longer willing to compromise, hide, or minimize what’s deeply important to them. 

We’re seeing a collective rising toward the topic of pleasure, along with the recognition that experiencing pleasure and joy in relationships, sex and love are all important components of wellbeing. 

The growing understanding that sexual wellness is a component of our general health isn’t just reflected in year-over-year industry growth. In 2023, expect a normalization of shopping for sexual-wellness products and services. It’s noteworthy that even conservative publications such as The Economist are reporting on this rising trend (The World Ahead 2023 Report)

This is a ripe emerging market for coaches, one that we’re predicting is on the brink of explosive growth. 

So many people want to experience something new in their sex lives, but they often don’t know where to begin. Enter sex and intimacy coaches. Professionals in this area help clients feel more comfortable with exploration, confidently name their desires, and express their sexual needs in an empowered way. 

In Lumia’s life coach training program, we have seen an upward trend in coaching practitioners focusing on sexuality based wellness from female pleasure, to non-monogamy, to on-set movie scene coaching, to specific orientations like puppy play. Our coaches are out there giving folks the support the market is calling for, helping their clients live their lives in an affirming and fulfilled way. 

Examples of Lumia graduates specializing in this growing coaching niche include: Maria Two-Straps, Chris Cherrie, Rena Martine, and Dawn Davis. Check out their websites to get a flavor of the diverse array of voices, perspectives, and services being offered!

Trend #3: Mental fitness

“People often think about mental health as something that you focus on only when you're in crisis, rather than as a crucial part of how you show up in the world. However, taking care of your mental health doesn't have to be expensive, inaccessible, or time-consuming.” - Casey Gueren, head of content for Wondermind

Mental fitness is the understanding that our inner world is just as important as making sure our physical bodies are healthy and sound. 

In the wake of the pandemic, more people have come to the awareness that their state of mind is essential to mental health and wellbeing. As a result, we’re seeing an emerging trend toward taking better care of our brains, emotions, hearts and souls. 

In recent years, use of the term “mental fitness” has exploded on social media.

  • #mentalfitness currently stands at 387,000 posts on Instagram and counting
  • On TikTok, #mentalfitness boasts an impressive 58.5 million views—increasing 575 percent from 2021 to 2022. 

This tells us that the public is hungry for modalities to support mental wellbeing. 

The coaching profession is uniquely situated to offer consumers the support that they are seeking in this area. Research shows that taking action towards goals enhances mental fitness, and an effective coaching relationship facilitates the process of turning goals and intentions into actions and accountability.

There are many coaching niches that fall into the category of mental fitness. Some of the fastest growing among them include:

  • Burnout recovery 
  • Mindfulness & meditation
  • Performance enhancement
  • Stress reduction
  • Neurodiversity and ADHD
  • Sobriety
  • Overcoming relationship breakups
  • Single on purpose
  • Body acceptance

Trend #4 Wellness travel and psychic services

This is a growing trend that is backed by BIG money. In recent years, wellness travel offerings have begun explicitly addressing the public’s rising interest in psychic services - a market that, in the United States, grew by 2.6 percent in 2021 and is now valued at $2.2 billion. 

“As a mindful travel coach, I’m used to working with clients who use travel as a means to seek spiritual grounding and a sense of belonging—to feel a part of something greater than themselves. Recently, it’s been exciting to see that more travelers are intentionally seeking out services that meet these needs, including spiritual offerings that provide a sense of discovery, presence, and connection.” - Camila Castro, ICF certified travel coach 

As demand for wellness travel experiences continues to grow, programming is expanding, granting wellness tourism a new aura of spirituality. Many top tier spas now include services such as reiki, astrology, and energy healing. 

This is yet another reverberation of the pandemic. People have lost faith in many traditional structures and systems. As a collective, we are seeking out new perspectives, different aspects of spirituality, and a return to nature-based experiences. As a result, psychic and spiritual services are moving out of the margins and into the mainstream.

Wondering what this looks like? Here’s just a few examples:

  • Retrograde reset events at  L’Auberge de Sedona resort
  • Astrology readings at Arizona Biltmore’s Tierra Luna Spa alongside facials that draw inspiration from the moon
  • Alila Ventana Big Sur recently launched several experiences, including a celestially inspired yoga class as well as astrology readings and the opportunity to have your “essence” painted. 

But you don’t need to visit a high end resort to access these services. More and more coaches are incorporating these and other modalities into their practices. In fact, we have a number of Lumia graduates who are leading the charge in this arena! For a few examples of what that looks like, check out:

  • Kathryn Schwarz combines coaching, reiki, and nature walks
  • Chris Clark is an ICF credentialed coach who weaves together coaching, tarot, earth-based rituals and shamanic healing
  • Millie Murillo offers astrological coaching, putting a birth chart reading together with coaching

Trend #5 Community based wellbeing centers

This is another emerging trend where significant investments are flowing right now. It’s also an area where we see more jobs forming, and new opportunities for coaches in the years ahead.

So what’s driving the trend toward community wellness? 

In the wake of the pandemic, we’re facing an epidemic of loneliness. A study at Harvard recently found that:

  • 36% of all Americans—including 61% of young adults—feel "serious loneliness.
  • 43% of young adults said that they felt increases in loneliness due to the pandemic. 
  • About half of young adults who identified as lonely reported that in their recent memory, no one had "taken more than just a few minutes" to ask how they are doing in a way that made them feel like the person "genuinely cared."

As people increasingly find themselves isolated and starved for human connection, community-based well-being centers are starting to emerged in response. What does this look like on the ground? One model we’re starting to see are centers that provide beauty services alongside other high-tech treatments and experiences. 

The Well is one example, with locations in New York, Connecticut, and Costa Rica. They offer beauty treatments, classes and access to wellness experts.

New York's Sage + Sound proves massages, facials, acupuncture, a speaker series, and daily classes from poetry to meditation. 

Remedy Place is a "self-care social club" that boasts membership perks such as unlimited cryotherapy and four breathwork ice baths a month.   

For families, Lifetime is an "athletic country club" that offers fitness classes, spa services, sports leagues, and health and nutrition coaching.

For the spiritually minded, some churches have even shaped themselves into wellness centers offering cafes and sports courts. Entrepreneur John Fio has dubbed this trend "the future of faith in America."

Online, we’re seeing an explosion of micro-communities. Tech companies such as Circle are building platforms for facilitating these experiences. 

Coaching skills are paramount in all of these spaces. 

Life coach training teaches us how to express genuine care for other people. As coaches, we have cultivated the skills for creating emotional trust and safety, and are adept at asking good questions. Professionals with these core abilities will have a huge competitive advantage as opportunities in the $4.4 trillion wellness economy continue to emerge.

For a deeper dive into the global wellness economy, check out our companion report: 2023 State of the Life Coaching Industry.

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